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SSD history - 2012 month by month

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor -

what's the state of DWPD?
Strategic Transitions in SSD Year 2012
Capacitor hold up times in 2.5" military SSDs
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January 2012 - OCZ and Micron acquire PCIe SSD software companies
OCZ announced it has acquired SANRAD for $15 million.

WhipTail announced it has secured a Series B funding round.

LSI announced it has completed the acquisition of SandForce.

Intel announced an agreement to acquire the InfiniBand related product lines, IP and business assets of QLogic.

RunCore announced it is shipping a 7mm high, Sandforce-based, 2.5" SATA 3 SSD for the high performance Ultrabook market.

IP-Maker released a data transfer manager core - for use in PCIe SSDs - the 1st design to be compliant with the NVM Express specification.

Micron announced it has acquired the assets of UK based Virtensys which marketed rackmount SSDs stuffed with Micron's PCIe SSDs and supported by a patented multi-server sharing virtualization interface.

OCZ demonstrated new PCIe SSDs - which use SSD controllers jointly developed with Marvell (instead of - as in previous models - controllers from SandForce).

Samsung entered the fast purge SSD market - which currently numbers about 25 companies. The company says that models of its PM810 2.5" SATA SSD family with its Crypto Erase technology deletes targeted data in a couple of seconds regardless of the overall volume of data or the capacity of the SSD. These models have been validated for compliance to NIST FIPS 140-2

pureSilicon launched a 1.6TB usable (2TB raw) 2.5" SATA eMLC SSD. The Nitro N2 has average latency under 100 micro-seconds, R/W speeds upto 540/520 MB/s and upto 130k random IOPS. The N2 uses a proprietary design and is protected against sudden power loss.

Fusion-io exceeded 1 billion IOPS (64 byte data packets) in a configuration which used 8 HP servers each configured with 8x ioDrive2 Duo PCIe SSD - in a historic demo this month showing the capabilities of its latency reducing Auto Commit Memory (ACM) extension.

TCS announced shipments of its Galatea - a rugged 200GB 2.5" SLC SSD which has has been verified by outside labs to meet MIL-STD-810 requirements for shock, vibration, temperature range, temperature shock, humidity and altitude. The new 40K IOPS SSD includes 128-bit AES encryption and full drive fast erase in less than 15 seconds.

CacheIO founded.

Huawei Symantec published an SPC Benchmark report (66 pages pdf) for its high availability FC SAN rackmount SSD - the Oceanspace Dorado2100. A 1 terabyte (approx) usable protected (mirrored) SSD system (2.4TB raw) delivered over 100K SPC-1 IOPS at a market price of $0.90/SPC-1 IOPS.

Nimbus announced its entry into the high availability enterprise SSD market with the uveiling of the company's - E-Class systems - which are 2U rackmount SSDs with 10TB eMLC per U of usable capacity and no single point of failure. Interface support includes unified 10GbE, FC, and Infiniband. Pricing starts at $150K approx for a 10TB dual configuration system.
February 2012 - EMC and Intel join the LSI-SandForce-inside set
SanDisk announced it has acquired FlashSoft - one of the leading independent software vendors in the SSD ASAPs market.

Spin Transfer Technologies announced it has secured $36 million in Series A funding to accelerate development of its patented orthogonal spin transfer magneto resistive random access memory technology (OST-MRAM).

SMART Storage Systems launched the Optimus Ultra (a 1.2TB 2.5" 100K/60K IOPS, 500MB/s R/W SAS SSD) which uses the company's new, in-house developed, high reliability enterprise SSD controller IP - which includes DSP and adaptive programming techniques to deliver industry leading SSD data integrity and upto 25x / day full disk writes for 5 years endurance - while using low cost consumer grade MLC.

Greenliant Systems has started volume shipments of its industrial grade rugged SATA SLC SSDs on a chip (BGA - 14mm x 24mm x 1.95mm) - NANDrive GLS85LS - which have upto 8GB capacity, 70/60MB/s R/W, include zoneable password security and fast erase, and strong power fail data protection.

Intel announced it has used SandForce controllers for the first time in its new (and fastest) SATA 3 2.5" SSD - the Intel SSD 520 - which (with upto 80K R/W IOPS peak - 4KB) is aimed at gaming, CAD and graphics content creation markets.

EMC launched its new PCIe SSD based product line - VFCache - which as widely reported last month - leverages hardware designed by LSI and incorporates SandForce controllers.

Rambus announced it has acquired CMOx pioneer Unity Semiconductor for an aggregate of $35 million in cash. As part of this acquisition, the Unity team members have joined Rambus to continue developing innovations and solutions for next-generation non-volatile memory.

NEVEX announced a partnership agreement with Texas Memory Systems - which among other products includes software support for the RamSan-70 ( PCIe SSD).

VIA has selected Tensilica's Xtensa dataplane processors to use in a new design of SSD controllers.

GreenBytes announced imminent availability of its first pure SSD based storage array. The Solidarity is a high availability iSCSI 3U rackmount SSD with real-time dedupe and compression with upto 13.5TB raw capacity (60TB effective) and 120,000 4K IOPS performance.

OCZ announced imminent shipments of new high capacity PCIe SSDs optimized for cloud apps. The Z-Drive R4 CloudServ (which uses 16x SandForce 2581 SSD processors) has up to 16TB of storage capacity on a single full height card and is supported by auto-caching SSD ASAP functionality (based on the acquisition of SANRAD's VXL) and OCZ's VCA 2.0 which together enable host migrations without loss of performance or interruption of service.
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March 2012 - Micron ships 2.5" PCIe SSDs
STEC started shipping CellCare MLC SSDs in the Slim SATA / MO-297 SSD form factor. The MACH16 Slim SATA embedded SSD (pdf) has upto 50GB usable capacity, and sustained R/W performance up to 245MB/s and 150MB/s respectively.

Hitachi GST (soon to be part of WD) announced that its 2.5" SAS SLC SSD product - the Ultrastar SSD400S is now shipping in EMC's VNX iSCSI arrays.

Micron announced that it has developed a 2.5" form factor, hot swappable, PCIe SSD which is being used in Dell servers.

UNH-IOL announced it is accepting founding members for the laboratory's new NVMe Consortium which will provide a vendor neutral location for members to test conformance of their PCIe SSD related products aimed at the NVMe compatible market.

Marvell announced mass deployment of its new high speed 6Gbps SATA SSD controller - the 88SS9187 which supports regular RAM cache (upto 1GB) and upto 500MB/s R/W even at dirty drive conditions. It supports on-chip RAID technology for the NAND device with flexible customer firmware based algorithms to optimize retiring of defective NAND block, plane, die or device and has the lowest power consumption of any controller in this performance class.

Texas Memory Systems introduced a new fast-enough MLC PCIe SSD into its product line as part of an SSD ASAP / caching bundle which includes software from NEVEX.

Memoright showcased its HTM series industrial SSDs - which using the company's proprietary adaptive write / DSP controller technology expand MLC flash endurance from 3,000 to 5,000 cycles (legacy controller standard) upto 20,000 cycles.
April 2012 - SCSI Express initiative launched (SCSI for PCIe SSDs)
STA announced support for a new standard - SCSI Express (SCSI for PCIe SSDs).

Violin announced it has secured $50 million in Series D funding, which the privately owned company says gives it at an extrapolated market value of more than $800 million.

LSI announced details of its new Nytro family of SSD technologies - which integrate and join up several previously standalone elements in its product line in a new unified marketing roadmap which connects its legacy SAS software RAID controller stack to LSI/SandForce controllers via SSD ASAP acceleration software and a compatible family of PCIe SSD cards.

OCZ launched what the company says - is the industry's fastest IOPS 2.5" SATA MLC SSD family (across a range of apps) - the Vertex 4 (based on OCZ's own regular RAM cache Everest 2 controller) delivers 95K / 85K random IOPS (4K blocks) and 535 MB/s throughput.

Intel launched a new fast-enough PCIe MLC SSD - the 910 Series has upto 800GB capacity ($3,859) and 180K / 75K R/W IOPS (4K blocks). UBER is 1 sector per 1016 bits read.

Microsemi announced it is offering a new type of ruggedized SATA connector option for its its TRRUST-Stor SSDs which provides a complete vibration-resistant solution which eliminates pin fretting and intermittent disconnects to assure long-term dependability.

Dataram announced it had sold its patents portfolio related to solid state storage and SSD ASAPs for $5 million to Phan Tia Group while retaining the right to continue using these patents in its own current and future products.

DensBits announced it is sampling a new SSD controller - the DB3610 - which supports the latest 2Xnm and 1Xnm TLC (3 bits/cell ) MLC flash with an extreme endurance figure of more than 10K P/E cycles and R/W performance of up to 95MB/s / 65MB/s and 4,000 / 1,100 R/W IOPS (4KB), for sequential and random operations, respectively.

SMART announced that it has figured out a way to get 5x more endurance from consumer grade flash when using unmodified industry standard controllers from LSI/SandForce. The technique - which is used in a new fast-enough (enterprise component) 2.5" SATA SSD product family sampling this quarter - involves preconditioning parameters in the flash memory when the SSDs are assembled (or at first boot) using intelligence gained from experience with the company's population of closed-loop adaptive DSP controllers which are used in its Optimus family. SMART applies a safety margin to compensate for the open-loop aspect of these factors when managed by a SandForce controller to which these underlying dynamics are invisible.

StorCloud changed its name to Skyera.
May 2012 - SAS SSDs advance to 12Gb/s - SSD news
HGST demonstrated the industry's first 12Gb/s SAS SSD.

EMC announced it has acquired XtremIO for $430 million.

Fusion-io demonstrated its first ever 2.5" SSD. It connected via SCSIe. published a new article analyzing the market for 2.5" PCIe SSDs

Apacer launched a new small (50.8 x 29.8mm) mSATA SSD aimed at the Ultrabook market with upto 256GB (MLC) capacity and R/W speed upto 470/200MB/s and 50K IOPS.

WhipTail launched a multi-protocol HA SSD rack called the INVICTA ($250,000 for a 6TB 6U 250K IOPS 200 µS latency model).

GreenBytes announced it has raised an additional $12 million in Series B funding which the company will use to expand sales and marketing of its iSCSI compatble rackmount SSD ASAPs.
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June 2012 - Hynix acquired DSP SSD IP company LAMD
SK Hynix announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Link_A_Media Devices

Seagate announced it will use DensBits's flash care technology in the design of forthcoming consumer and enterprise SSDs. Seagate has also made an equity investment in DensBits.

LSI demonstrated its SandForce SF-2000 flash controllers working with Toshiba 19nm and Intel 20nm NAND flash memory at Computex 2012 in Taipei, Taiwan.

SMART Storage Systems announced it's sampling yet another new variant of SAS SSD which uses adaptive flash DSP technology - the Optimus Ultra+ is a 2.5" SSD with 100K/60K R/W IOPS - which can endure 50 full random drive writes per day for a period of 5 years using commercial MLC NAND flash technology.

SanDisk launched a new family of bootable enterprise PCIe SSDs with upto 400GB (MLC) capacity ($2,350 MSRP) - the Lightning - which leverages SSD IP from 2 previously acquired companies (Pliant for the controller hardware and FlashSoft for the auto caching software).

BiTMICRO announced it has obtained over 600 IP assets from QualCore whose portfolio includes analog, digital, and mixed-signal IC design.

Kaminario announced it has secured a $25 million series D round of funding, bringing its total funding to $65 million.
my flash SSD care managements scheme is 100x better
The new fad in selling flash SSDs
July 2012 - DensBits and Skyera enter the Top SSD Companies List
OCZ reported that its SSD revenue for the recent quarter (ended May 31, 2012) grew 54% year on year to reach $106 million.

Intel acquired NEVEX - (an SSD software company with products in the SSD caching market.

In the 21st quarterly edition of the Top SSD Companies - published by - 2 new companies entered the list directly after exiting stealth mode in the same quarter:- DensBits and Skyera. This edition also analyzed the competitive advantages which SSD makers gets from using adaptive DSP ECC IP in SSDs and leveraging SSD software.

Proximal Data announced availability of its first product - a software based SSD ASAP - designed to work with PCIe SSDs - in particular - products from LSI and Micron.

Infinity Group (a VC company) announced that, together with Z-Park Venture Capital in Beijing, it had invested 20 Million RMB (nearly US$3.2 Million) in Memblaze, a high-speed storage hardware start-up company with plans in the PCIe SSD market.
Heck no! - whatever gave you that silly idea?
Can you trust SSD market data?
August 2012 - IBM acquires TMS, Skyera launches adaptive DSP powered enterprise SSD system
IBM announced it will acquire Texas Memory Systems.

Skyera launched its first product - a 1U half-depth 10GbE SSD rack with 44TB usable capacity ($131,000 approx), 3.6GB/s throughput and upto 1 million IOPS using under 800W electrical power. Integrated software includes inline dedupe, compression, snapshots, clones and various management functions.

IDT announced it's sampling single chip NVMe compatible flash SSD controllers for designers in the PCIe SSD market to suit standard sized cards and also smaller 2.5" PCIe SSDs. Supported features include hot pluggability, dual port access and bootability.

Fusion-io launched its ION software - a toolkit for bulding your own network compatible SSD rack by adding some Fusion-io SSD cards and their new software to any leading server.

Virident Systems announced it will ship a new generation of fast PCIe SSDs in September. FlashMAX II (pdf) has upto 2.2TB usable RAID protected MLC capacity, 103K random R/W IOPS (4kB 70:30 mix), and 1.1 million random read IOPS (512B), and <80µS random read latency (4kB) in a ½ length, low profile form factor.

Pure Storage cranked up the heat on its funding to $95 million with a new $40 million Series D funding round.

IT Brand Pulse launched its SSD Brand Leader Survey Report ($3,950, 19 pages) based on datacenter surveys. The scope ranges from controllers, drives and PCIe SSD cards through to various types of SSD systems.
Smaller nuances of user behavior (which are easier to discern as patterns in a stable market) easily get lost under the noise created by headline technology changes and the market's apparent willingness to slaughter and discard once loved past industry leaders.
Decloaking hidden SSD segments in the enterprise
September 2012 - 3 of the top 10 SSD companies announced new CEOs
Virident announced a $26 million Series D funding round and a new CEO Mike Gustafson who joined the company from HDS.

Renice Technology launched a native USB 3 SSD (no bridge chips) using its own controller IP which supports the UAS (USB Attached SCSI) protocol, has SMART and power interruption data integrity protection and R/W speeds of 400MB/s and 320MB/s respectively.

RunCore launched its fastest yet PCIe SSD - the Kylin III PCIe - which has upto 1.4TB (usable) MLC capacity (full height, half length) R/W bandwith of 3GB/s and 2GB/s respectively - and R/W IOPS upto 700K / 500K (with 4KB blocks) and 3 / 1.4 million IOPS (512B). Read latency is 65µS (512B).

OCZ announced the resignation of the company's founder and CEO Ryan Petersen. Despite high revenue growth some investors said they lacked confidence in the strategic direction and management of the company - whose shares had spiked and then dropped again in the period leading up to this departure - on speculation that the company might be a takeover target.

STEC announced that Manouch Moshayedi, had stepped down from his positions as Chairman and CEO pending resolution of a civil complaint filed against him by the SEC.

Dataram announced it will develop a version of its RAMDisk software which will be rebranded by AMD in Q4 under the name of Radeon RAMDisk and aimed at gamers in the Windows market.
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October 2012 - Samsung gets serious about SAS SSDs
Samsung entered the dual port SAS SSD market.

Proton Digital Systems emerged a bit more from stealth mode.

Cypress Semiconductor acquired Ramtron a maker of low capacity nvm called F-RAM (ferroelectric random access memory).

Fusion-io reported 59% year on year revenue growth for its recent quarter.

Bloomberg reported that Violin had already taken steps compatible with filing for a possible future IPO.

OCZ slimmed down its catalog and headcount - by 150 products and about 30% respectively - as part of an effort to re-engineer business efficiencies.

Virtium outlined a new 4 part categorization scheme for matching embedded industrial temperature rated SSDs to user cases and needs.
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November 2012 - Diablo gets funding for alternative to PCIe SSDs
OCZ announced its reporting is being investigated by the SEC.

Diablo Technologies closed a $28 million funding round to bring their Memory Channel Storage concept to market. This is a new high speed direct attach like memory nand flash competitive alternative to PCIe SSDs.

Crocus Technology announced imminent sampling of high speed 1.2MB MRAM SIMs and small secure MRAM controllers - or what the company prefers to call - "Magnetic Logic Units" - aimed at the NFC-enabled smartphones market.

Samsung began production of 64GB eMMC SSDs which use 10nm flash geometry. Aimed at the phone and tablet market - R/W IOPS performance is 5,000 and 2,000 respectively. R/W throughput is 260MB/s and 50MB/s.

Micron signed an agreement with AgigA Tech to collaborate to develop and offer nonvolatile DIMM (NVDIMM) products using AgigA's PowerGEM (sudden power loss controller and holdup modules).
"...the SSD market will be bigger in revenue than the hard drive market ever was."
How will hard drives fare in an SSD world?
December 2012 - 1/3 of Micron's nand flash trade sales wind up in SSDs
Samsung acquired NVELO.

WhipTail announced a $31 million series C funding round from a group of investors including SanDisk.

BiTMICRO began manufacturing its maxIO (400K IOPS (PCIe SSDs) which use the company's Talino SSD controllers.

STEC announced that the company's interim CEO, and former CEO and founder Mark and Manouch Moshayedi have reduced their salaries to $1 to help the company reduce its operational costs.

Proton Digital Systems announced the immediate availability of its LDPC flash IP (a variant of adaptive DSP IP) for enterprise storage applications compatible with implementation using eASIC which enables enterprise storage vendors to double the throughput performance at approximately half the power that can be achieved using state-of–the art FPGAs.

Micron disclosed that in the past quarter SSDs had become 17% of Micron's nand business and the company estimates that 35% of the nand flash it supplies to trade customers end up in SSDs. MLC was about 80% to 85% of nand flash wafer production with SLC and TLC making up the rest.

Macronix described an experimental design of flash cells with on-chip annealing super heaters - which the company said could be used to refresh endurance to over 100 million cycles.
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